As per special request! “Tell me about the food and beer” Leigh says.
Luckily on Friday Cindy had some friends over to stay so we decided to cook a traditional South African dish called a Potjie. The Potjie pronounced “poy-key” – (don’t ask me) must be cooked in a 3 legged pot over the braai.
Potjie History: My Dutch friends should know all about this cooking method after all it was the Dutch ancestors who first introduced the cooking of food in these big heavy cast iron pots over the hearth to the Bantu tribes in the Cape.
The round potbellied cast iron pot was the perfect cooking utensil to suit the nomadic lifestyle of the black tribes and the Voortrekkers during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Potjiekos evolved as a stew, made of venison or any meat with layers of vegetables. The pot with its contents protected by a layer of fat was hooked under the wagon by the Voortrekkers while travelling and unhooked at the next stop to be put on the fire again. It was refilled with any new game caught and topp veggies topped up if they could find them.
Today, cooking up a potjie has evolved into a unique South African social happening, a tradition almost as popular as the legendary braai. In fact it is such a labour of love I have had 3 Potjies over the last 3 weeks version, ostrich neck and lamb. They are absolutely delicious and a must taste if you are travelling this way.
Another item I have found must accompany the Potjie is roosterbrood which is bread dough that is grilled over the fire. It is amazing, perfect for dipping in the Potjie and soaking up the juicy sauce.
This is simple home cooking at its best, the Potjie take about 4-5 hours depending on your meat and it is important to layer your veggies properly according to cooking time. The most important rule I am told is that a Potjie must not be stirred. You may place the spoon around the edges and wobble but stirring is really frowned upon.
Potjie is uniquely South African, and is a friendly bonding food over the campfire. It is to be enjoyed by rich or poor, young and old, city-dwellers and country folk, needing only one’s imagination when it comes to selecting the ingredients and luckily there is only one pot for the washing up.
Other Gems: One bottle of absolute daily delight is Ina Paarman’s Lime and Coriander dressing, I hope I can find this in the UK other will have to start importing.
Apart from advocadoes the fruit and veggies decline very quickly. I always see great South African food in Tesco and Sainbury, looks like the UK is getting all the best veg and there is none left for Pick n Pay. I did find this weekend on my way back from the Game Drive (update on Friday) a Vegan farm where you can pick your own veg, I managed to arrive at the tail end of lunch and got a 3 course meal for half price, the lentil curry was full of flavour. It was the best meal out yet and at half price was the most expensive – ouch.
Unfortunately no update as yet on beer, I have only had 1 Castle lager while watching the Sharks v Lions on Saturday and that was nothing to write home about, so it is still a work in progress.